H4 HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION education was undertaken by the Church for its own clergy and then extended to the community at large. It must be presumed that, as in all movements which are the spontaneous outcome of social needs rather than the results of deliberate purpose, progress was unequal in different parts of Europe, and that there were many local variations. In the Western Church as a whole, the instability of political conditions and the passions engendered by the conflict between Christianity and cultured paganism undoubtedly put obstacles in the way of education and retarded its development. At any rate, it seems to have been in the Eastern branch of the Church, as yet free from the social confusion caused by barbarian invasion, that the obligation of the clergy to undertake the work of education was first explicitly assumed. Two of the canons wrongly attri- buted to the Sixth Ecumenical Council, which met at Constan- tinople in 680, are of special note as the oldest statutes on education in the law of the Church. The first of these, relating to schools " in the churches of saints " (that is, in the cathedrals under direct episcopal control) or in the monasteries, enacted that any priest who wished to send his nephew or other kinsman was at liberty to do so. The second instructed priests in villages and towns to keep schools to which might come for instruction in grammar the children of any of the faithful who were willing to entrust them to their care, and directed the priests not to exact fees or to receive any payment except such as might be voluntarily given. The origin of these canons is obscure; but they are certainly very ancient (not later than the beginning of the Eighth Century) and the tradition that connects them with Constantinople is at least plausible.* From the latter of them it may be inferred that at the time they were written there were already in existence in the smaller towns some grammar schools for the children of the laity, under the superintendence of the priests, and that there was a desire to have similar schools everywhere. The former seems to show that the higher schools were still conducted primarily for the clergy, but that the studies pursued in them were sufficiently general to be of profit to others who were not necessarily going to enter holy orders. About a century later (797) these canons were repeated in rather more specific terms in the West by Theodulph, Bishop of * For the text see Mansi, Sacrorvm ConsiUorum Nova Collectio, xi, 1007.